Last week, a report put out by the National Alliance to End Homelessness confirmed what we already knew: federal homelessness prevention programs are working, but much more funding is needed.
The report shows that, with a modest $1.5 billion in funding, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) prevented or resolved homelessness for more than one million Americans.
What does this mean? It certainly isn’t an indication that we can take our eye off the ball.
According to conservative estimates by the Obama Administration, there were 636,000 people homeless on a single night in 2011. Almost 40 percent of them were living on the street. The need for federal aid is at historic highs.
Thanks to advocacy by the Law Center, a new Emergency Solutions Grant program will give local governments the flexibility to use federal aid not only to provide shelter, but for short-term rental subsidies to prevent homelessness or help people who recently became homeless return to housing. This is an important shift in the way the federal government addresses our national crisis, but the program is severely under-funded right now. It needs an additional $500 million per year just to keep homelessness from rising beyond current levels.
With the 2012 elections around the corner, we’re going to keep the pressure on our political candidates to talk seriously about ending homelessness and commit to supporting and expanding proven programs that give struggling Americans the thing they most need: a place to call home.
– Andy Beres, Development & Communications Coordinator
Signifcant work needs to be done to determine who should get funds. There will never be enough funding, yet a Housing First philosophy should only be used for those who cannot take care of themselves, not for anyone who wants government-paid & sponsored housing.